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A Brief History of Royal Doulton Pottery

Royal Doulton can trace its ancestry back to 1815 with the founding of a factory at Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, London. John Doulton, in partnership with Martha Jones and John Watts. The firm specialized in making stoneware articles ranging from decorative bottles to saltglaze sewer pipes.

Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Soon the company assumed the Doulton name (1853) and John with his son, Henry, had established themselves as makers of fine English stoneware, and using the limited range of colours which that material permits, produced a wide variety of decorative items for the more affluent members of society.

It was during the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) that the great revolution in personal sanitation occurred and Henry Doulton was at the forefront of domestic and industrial stoneware products. This enabled Doulton to became Britains leading manufacturer of sanitary ware as well as a major influence and producer of artistic pottery and commemorative, ornamental and tableware products.

Some examples of Lambeth Doulton and Royal Doulton marks.
Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector.

In 1871 Henry established a studio at the Lambeth pottery and offered work to designers and artists from a nearby Art school. Several of these designers have come to represent the best that Doulton had to offer. Names like the Barlow family (Florence, Hannah and Arthur), Frank Butler, Mark Marshall, Eliza Simmance and George Tinworth are commanding increasingly higher prices. The Lambeth pottery ceased production in 1956.

Some examples of very collectable Doulton figurines.
Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector.
It was during this time of intense creativity and expansion that Doulton came to the attention of the Royal Family. In 1882 Doulton acquired the small factory of Pinder, Bourne and Co. at Nile Street, Burslem, Staffordshire, in the heart of Bone China country. Henry soon discovered that as a Londoner he wasn't welcome 'up North' and is ascribed with saying "In their view, we Southerners know little about God and nothing at all about potting".

In spite of this, and through the artistic direction of John Slater, Doultonware grew ever more popular with its tremendous variety of figurines, vases, character jugs and decorative pieces, and in 1901, the factory was granted the Royal Warrant by King Edward VII. This resulted in the company adopting bold new markings and a new name, Royal Doulton.

More examples of quality Doulton pottery.
Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector. Doulton Pottery @ Antique Collector.
Between the wars, Royal Doulton became synonymous with the finest English china throughout the world. Character Jugs, huge quantities of figurines, Bunnykins dishes and plates, Flambe Ware, Titanium Ware, Bone China have only added to the Doulton name and reputation.

Since the war, as is inevitable with modern business methods, production had to shift toward simpler designs which could be mass-produced and at a much more affordable price. Even so, Doulton haven't lost their flare for technical innovation that allows for the use of cost effective yet high quality production techniques for which they have always been famous.

Author: Phil Chave

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